Designing With Users In Mind

{ 👨‍💻 } – #UserCentricDesign

Everyone talks about user-centric design these days… But how do we make user-centric methodology part of our design workflow and culture? How can we fully tap that potential in the products and services we create?

Today we’re meeting Daniel Souza. He is an Information Architect and Design Researcher.

He worked for agencies like Isobar, Wunderman and is now an Associate Creative Director, Experience Design @ Publicis.Sapient – the digital transformation arm of Publicis.

Building customer-centric experiences

Daniel says that conversations with end-users are a vital part of his design process. Connecting with people that will be using the product lets him design experiences honestly and openly.

I never design without talking with people. I always find ways of connecting with users and having a perspective on their challenges and problems.

Daniel thinks that proper research and deep user-testing are critical when designing experiences. To build a product that genuinely brings value to someone you need to step in their shoes.

Experiences we design are a connection-layer between brands and the audience. So it’s important to make sure they represent the relationship we want to have.

Proper research is an essential tool for any business. Not only does it make the design process more straightforward, but it also unveils hidden business opportunities. And frequently it will change the way you work.

As you acquire experience as a designer, you will be more thoughtful about your colleague’s perspectives. Empathy isn’t for user research only: the people you work with have their own motivations, needs and behaviours. Finding common ground is part of the job.

Designing radically user-centric experiences

The design is not only about the product – it’s about the people who use it, the people who provide the service, and it is usually part of a complex ecosystem.

Sometimes it’s not just about digital experiences. We have to consider every touchpoint and every interaction with the brand. Designers connect brand intentions with services – everything should be connected.

Enter ⇢ the radical approach to creating user-centric experiences.

In building truly useful user-experiences, there’s a lot of aspects we should consider. A Call Center is part of the experience. The “offline” store is part of the experience.

We should share our vision of what’s meaningful to build. If we won’t, companies will build everything that’s possible to build, not something that people need – Our role in this chaotic world is to create coherence.

Designers should start designing for the interactions across and between touchpoints – using a service design and systems thinking approach.

Leading a user-centered team

In shaping these types of experiences, it’s essential to have the right design team.

The most important thing that I design right now is my team.

Daniel encourages his team to go out and find answers themselves.

Daniel says that hiring people with the right mindset is crucial. Sure, they should have the design skills they need, but they should also have a certain attitude towards design. Being curious is a must, and the ability to learn and adapt quickly is pivotal.

Designing a culture is essential. It’s about building openness, and a learning environment. Those values help make products which people later would love.

Culture is a crazy anamorphic thing – it’s about what people do, not fancy manifestos. Every action we take shapes the organisational culture.

Customer-centric design can lead to genuinely life-changing experiences. Daniel and his work as a leader show this. Thank you, Daniel!

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Nick Budden Avatar

Nick Budden / CEO @ Phase

Designer, and sometimes-writer. Canadian in Taiwan ✈ Berlin. Trying to help people enjoy being creative.